The March earthquake in Japan has forced Subaru to delay the launch of its redesigned Impreza compact and the rest of its 2012 models for two months.
The Impreza will go on sale in November instead of September, but dealerships aren't likely to have sufficient inventory until December, said Takeshi Tachimori, Subaru's new top executive in the United States.
The new Impreza is key to Subaru's aim to increase U.S. sales more than 30 percent to 350,000 units within five years. In addition, Subaru will add a hybrid, a compact crossover and a sports coupe within three years, said Tachimori, 56, who became CEO of Subaru of America in April.
The 2012 Impreza has been redesigned, primarily to meet U.S. customer demand for more interior room and better fuel economy, Tachimori said. He wants to double sales of the model from the current 2,500 to 3,000 per month. Impreza sales peaked at about 49,000 in 2008.
Subaru is delaying the introduction of 2012 models until October because it lost 40,000 units of production for the U.S. market. The 2012 models normally would begin arriving this month, Tachimori said.